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Effects of Computer Gaming Essay

Technology nowadays has brought man to an era of digital and advanced world of computers. Not only are computers used in studies, research and work, it is now being used as part of leisure and entertainment. Most of the youth today know how computers work and even a 3 year old child who is still yet to learn how to read and write knows how to operate a simple computer. This is because the interactive element of a lot of software that computers use excites and attract children and this makes them learn to use and play with the computers. (Jones, 2002)

Advancement in technology has drastically changed man’s way of living which has been made easier for most. It has come from diskette to very portable and stylish mini USB, from the ancient “three point eleven” personal computers with big and bulky monitors and CPUs to very user friendly touch screen-tablet PCs, and from limited Nintendo games like Mario brothers to a bunch of online and offline games like Dota, Counter Strike, Angry Birds, and Fruit Ninja etc. Such kind of improvements has led today’s generation to learning more of what life has to offer through the use of modern technologies like computers. Schools now facilitate teaching and learning through the use of computers.

By the use of this kind of technology, learning is now more fun and a lot easier. Application of modern technology like computer-assisted teaching-learning on student’s aims to provide faster learning and ease of teaching and also provide the students of the advanced technology that they need to experience inside the classroom, and which they can apply when they are out of school. Since computer has a lot to offer to its users, it is also being used as entertainment and leisure and computer gaming being the most popular. There are lots of computer games that enhance the thinking abilities of students because of its gaming nature and environment like strategic gaming, word puzzles, etc. With this fact, learning through computer gaming helps students be more willing to study and learn more because, they are not just playing, they are also learning.

The use of multimedia in education has significantly changed people’s learning processes. Results from a number of research studies indicate that appropriately designed multimedia instruction enhances students’ learning performance in science, mathematics, and literacy (Gee, 2003). Previous studies indicate that computer-assisted instruction programs have important factors that can motivate, challenge, increase curiosity and control, and promote fantasy in children (Tzeng, 1999). Despite the fact that computer and video games have the same multimedia capability as computer assisted instruction programs, their potential learning impact is often discounted by parents and educators.

While computer gaming is regarded somewhat negative in educational settings, particularly for young students, re-scrutinizing of its influence in a teaching and learning context is vital since computer gaming can also be an education-assisted-program with proper implementation and application. While others confirm the negative effects of computer gaming to students’ performance in school and student’s health and mental ability, some authors argue that there are positive outcomes that a player can gain while playing computer video games.

A research published in the Australasian Journal of Educational technology found that students who play computer and video games more frequently get lower grades than those who do not. However, it is also included in the research the positive effect of this activity to students as far as some specific video games are concerned which promote some elements that increases learning.

On an online article entitled by Charles Pearson (2009) “Positive Effects of Computer Games on Student Achievement”, the author enumerated five positive significant effects of computer gaming to students. These include enhancing one’s problem solving capability, time and resource management, strategic life management skills, educational games promoting learning, and inherent instructional nature helps students to hone mastery skills.

Playing video games needs a sharp mind and an alert reflexes because most of the games require thinking quickly to be able to achieve the games’ goal. According to a blog site on the web authored by Manali Oak (2009) which has an article entitled Positive Effects of Video Games states that since video gaming is interactive, it boosts the ability of one person to use his mind and hence, develops the thinking ability of the person playing. The author also said that video gaming is surely better than watching television as video games are interactive.

In addition to what Manali Oak added that playing video games help benefit person with inferiority complex and lack of self confidence as they are experiencing sense of participation and a sense of achievement thus, building his self confidence. An excellent summary of the scant research that has been conducted is by Barlett, Anderson, and Swing (2009) on their research book Video game effects confirmed, suspected, and speculative: A review of the evidence. They reviewed the evidences for video game effects and grouped them into categories of confirmed, suspected, and speculative. By “confirmed,” the authors mean that the outcomes have received consistent empirical support for causal claims. They describe two such confirmed positive outcomes: (1) Playing video games can result in superior visual attention and (2) Video game play improves the ability to mentally rotate or arrange objects.

They point out that the research shows that both violent and non-violent video games produce these positive effects. They also observed that educational video games and simulators can teach specific educational skills and knowledge such as algebra, biology, photography, computer programming, and flight training. The evidence for this connection is provided by Gee (2007) and Shaffer (2006). However, most of the games that they discuss are not commercially available. Perhaps such games will be developed and distributed more widely in the future. In the meantime, the evidence shows that video games can enhance learning if they are designed properly for that purpose. Another study tackled the good and bad effects of video games to children conducted by the Raise Smart Kids Organization.

The study enumerated the positive effects of video games to children. Following instructions, problem solving and logic, hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills, resource management and logistics, multitasking, quick thinking and making fast analysis and decision, inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing are among those which enumerated by the author about the positive effects of video gaming. In addition, the article also included that video games can improve one’s decision making speed. People who played action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy, according to a study from the University of Rochester.

Other studies suggests that most expert gamers can make choices and act on them up to six times a second—four times faster than most people, and can pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused, compared to only four by the average person. Surprisingly, the violent action games that often worry parents most had the strongest beneficial effect on the brain, according to cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, who studied the effect of action games at Switzerland’s University of Geneva and the University of Rochester in New York. Moving from the early years, the effects of socialization become more entrenched.

In an article published in The Journal of Educational Computing, A. Colley (1994) reported that masculine gender role traits are associated with a more positive computer attitude and that there is a gender stereotype of science in general being masculine. According to Sax (2007) his book “Boys Adrift: The five factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men” where he drew one fact well established by his conducted research revealed that violent video games cause aggressive behavior in the players. He argues that video games are so addictive that they satisfy the male need to power and control.

It is evident in the country like the Philippines that the most popular computer games that the youth play in the computers are Dota, San Andreas, Counter Strike among others which are clearly promoting violence and aggression through its war and battle depiction. It can in effect, influence the youth as they play those kind of games which depict war, blood, killing, shooting etc. In a book by Barlett, Anderson, and Swing (2009) entitled Video Game Effects Confirmed, Suspected, and Speculative: A Review of the Evidence, it has stated that the “confirmed” negative effects of video games established by the research include aggressive thoughts and behavior, physiological arousal, and antisocial behavior. It was also explained that there are two variables that heighten the effects of computer games.

One is depiction of blood, which results in higher levels of physiological arousal, aggressive feelings, and aggressive thoughts. Another is rewarding of violent acts, which also increases these effects. Since most of the computer games depicts violence, what they conceive in the monitors of their computers in the games that they are playing are somewhat becoming part of their reality. In an article on a eHow.com by Sarah Arnette (2011) entitled The Negative Effects of Computer Gaming on Students, the author enumerated four negative effects of computer gaming on students. She used the General Aggression Model (GAM) developed by Craig Anderson and Douglas Gentile in conducting the study that helped the author come up with the results.

The results showed the negative effects include short term aggression, lack of problem solving thinking ability, weight gain, and anti social behaviors. It is regarded that the negative effects of playing video games does not only affect the player’s mental ability but as well as that concerning their health and socialization. Computer gaming also affects the behavior of the players and on how they relate with other people. A study by Argosy University’s Minnesota School on Professional Psychology found out that game addicts argue a lot with their teachers, fight a lot with their friends, and score lower grades than others who play video games less often.

Performance in class may be negatively affected due to significant time spent in playing video games. Studies conducted by Anderson and Dill (2000) and one that was conducted by Gentile, Lynch and Walsh (2004) show that the more a person spends playing video games, the poorer is his performance in school. Computer gaming can also affect the health of the players. According to an online article entitled “the good and bad effects of video games” (2011), online gaming may also have bad effects on one’s health including obesity, video-induced seizures and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders such as tendonitis, nerve compression, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Conceptual Framework

This study was based on a recent study conducted by Barlett, Anderson, and Swing (2009) and a study by the Raise Smart Kid organization which stated that there are confirmed positive and negative effects of computer gaming on studies of students who play the computer. Barlett, Anderson, and Swing stated that the “confirmed” negative effects of video games established by the research include aggressive thoughts and behavior, physiological arousal, and antisocial behavior On the other hand, Raise Smart Kid organization stated the good and bad effects of video games to.

The article enumerated the positive effects of video games to children: following instructions, problem solving and logic, hand-eye coordination, fine motor and spatial skills, resource management and logistics, multitasking, quick thinking and making fast analysis and decision, inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing. Using the results of the study conducted by Barlett, Anderson, and Swing in 2009 and the study by the Raise Smart Kids Org as basis, this study aims to find out what effects do computer gaming have particularly on students of Business Administration of the College of the Immaculate Conception and enumerate both the positive and negative effects of the said activity on their studies and personal behavior.


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